Monday, April 6, 2009 3:14:11 PM
According to USGS the epicentre was at 42.423°N, 13.395°E. The depth was only about 10 km. Shallow earthquakes are usually the most damaging.
Carved up by two major fault lines, Italy has gained a reputation as one of the most earthquake prone countries in Europe. The Eurasian and African plates meet along a line which runs through North Africa and crosses the Mediterranean near southern Italy and Greece. Africa is moving northward at about 2 cm a year. As a result two main cracks - or fault lines - cut across the Italian peninsula, one running north-south along the spine of the Apennine mountains (where Aquila is situated) and another crossing east-west south of Rome and north of Naples. The city of L’Aquila (founded in 1245) is thus located in a tectonic basin bounded to the north by a northwest–southeast-trending active normal fault. (The earthquake was in fact a shallow normal-faulting event). The city sits in a valley in the central Apennines north of Rome and is built on a basin of sediments which has attracted geological interest in the past. It was hit by earthquakes repeatedly in its history including one in 1703 which flattened the centre.
Here are a few links to the first media reports from the disaster.
And a few links to fellow bloggers’ posts so far about the event:
more will no doubt follow.